Cowdray Hall's Wellbeing Event, Saturday 10th March 2018

Wellbeing Cowdray.jpeg

This Saturday, following the success of their 2016 health and wellbeing event headlined by Ruby Wax, Cowdray House is holding a day of motivational talks by eminent speakers. 

Health psychologist Dr Brian Marien, author, Telegraph columnist and mental health campaigner Bryony Gordon and Mindfulness expert Dr Mark Williams will be participating in the event as well as taking questions from the audience.

Gillian Higgins, a leading international criminal barrister, meditation teacher and co-founder of The Mindful Kitchen Company will compère the event and there will also be music plus a short talk by the British Pilgrimage Trust, a charity dedicated to re-establishing the tradition of Pilgrimage in Britain. 

Tickets for the event, which runs from 10.00am to 3.30pm, are still available.

The day costs £75 per person to include the full line up of talks and music, refreshments and a vegetarian lunch.

Pick up a leaflet about the event across the estate. Read leaflet here

Find out more and purchase tickets

Taking a Moment - Learning to Meditate

This Friday, meditation teacher Gillian Higgins from The Mindful Kitchen Company is offering a free short Introduction to Meditation course and a guided meditation practice. This week's Meditation Moment looks at "What is Meditation?" and "How do I get Started?".  The guided practice is called "Uniqueness of Breath" which encourages us to use our breath as an anchor to the present moment. Feel free to click below and take a moment for yourself. Enter the following coupon code to receive your course: MKR

Photo by Kevin Young.

Being Kind to Ourselves

When we start to practice meditation, we can often find that we become quickly critical of our wandering mind, wishing that we were able to practice for longer, or experience a deeper sense of calm. 

In his book "Mindfulness for Beginners", Jon Kabat Zinn explains that "in every moment, the invitation is to be present with and for yourself as you are, with an attitude of openness, generosity and kindness." He urges us to adopt a non-judgmental attitude when we meditate and to try not to criticise yourself every time you don't live up to your own "self-created, usually unrealistic standards." He explains that if you "cultivate that kind of attitude toward yourself, then when you take your seat on a chair or on a meditation cushion, you can rest in awareness with ease, without having to get anywhere else, or experience anything special. Because, this moment is already special."  

 

 

Sharing the Secrets of the Mindful Kitchen Company

IMG_6588.jpg

Last month, The Mindful Kitchen Company held its first "Bake and Breathe" session in Lodsworth, West Sussex. We were delighted to share this experience with those of you who were able to came along to The Kitchen School.

We particularly enjoyed exploring the essence of mindfulness meditation and preparing the nourishing morning breads. Our mindful walk in the woods of West Sussex provided foraged flowers and salad leaves, with shots of warm berry tisane tucked away in a quiet part of the glade. With time for reflection, the decorating of buns and even some 'deckchair' meditation, we hope the day provided a moment to pause. 

Over the next week, we look forward to sharing with you some images from our first retreat.

 

Baking and Breathing Comes to Lodsworth, West Sussex

As we get ready this month to launch The Mindful Kitchen Company on 12th and 13th May in Lodsworth, we look forward to welcoming people to The Kitchen School to bake together, eat together and learn simple breathing meditation techniques that can be used to enhance wellbeing and reduce stress at home and in the workplace. To find out more details about the retreat, click the button below.

 

 

 

Reality and Stories About Ourselves

When we practice mindfulness meditation, we start to exercise our 'muscle' of attention. We bring our attention to the present moment, with kindness to ourselves, and return to an anchor point (eg the breath), when our minds start to wander. By dropping into the present moment, and returning to it, we can start to become more aware of the workings of the mind, and see more clearly the nature of the thoughts that come and go.

We can also start to discern when our inner critical voice arises and how unhelpful it can be in our daily lives. As mindfulness teacher Sharon Salzburg explains, the practice of mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what's happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what's happening. We can start to understand more clearly that our thoughts are not facts about us.

Come and find out more about mindfulness meditation and its benefits at The Mindful Kitchen Company on 13th May, from 10-4pm at The Kitchen School in Lodsworth, West Sussex. Early bird price until 7th May £125.

Being Curious About Our Mistakes

This month, Editor-in-Chief of Mindful Magazine Barry Boyce, explores the growing body of research that suggests that being curious about our mistakes is the "royal road to learning" and that mindful techniques can help. Boyce explains that "making a mistake hurts. It can carry with it embarrassment, even shame...and that most of us have been socialised to associate failure with purely negative outcomes." However, a number of studies have shown that "having the opportunity to learn from failure and consider options can turn failure into a positive experience that satisfies reward centres in the brain."

To read more about this important research, click here.

Courtesy of Mindful.org

The Baker and the Barrister Launch The Mindful Kitchen Company

toa-heftiba-128693.jpg

This month sees the launch of The Mindful Kitchen Company by Miranda Gore Browne (Bake Off Finalist and cookery writer) and Gillian Higgins (international barrister and meditation teacher). Their first day-long retreat will be held at The Kitchen School in Lodsworth, West Sussex from 10-4pm.  The retreat will bring together baking skills, foraging and breathing, in the form of mindfulness meditation practices, all aimed at beginners. To find out more details, please get in touch by registering below.

 

The Mindful Kitchen Company, West Sussex, Saturday 13th May

The Mindful Kitchen Company gently opens its doors on Saturday 13th May 2017 in Lodsworth, West Sussex. The retreat day will take place at Miranda's Kitchen School from 10am till 4pm. 

The retreat begins with a welcome introduction, tea and cake. Before preparing the bread for the day, we will talk about the essence of mindfulness meditation and share a short practice together. After weighing of ingredients and kneading the bread, we will take a walk in the forest and forage for nature’s ingredients and blossom for the lunch table.  After a guided sound meditation, it’s back to the Kitchen School for a cup of tea at the fire pit to check the bread.

A light lunch will shared together in the garden marquee, served with warm bread from the morning’s endeavours.

After lunch, there will be time to share another mindfulness practice before decorating biscuits for tea. Time for reflection before the day ends with your own box of takeaway goodies and mindfulness practices.

Price: £150

April Early Bird Price: £125

 

 

Balancing a Profession and Parenthood

This month sees the launch of The Mindful Kitchen Company which brings together Miranda Gore Browne (Bake Off Finalist, cookery writer) and Gillian Higgins (international barrister and meditation teacher) as they share their respective talents in 'baking' and 'breathing' using mindfulness meditation practices. The first retreat will be held on 13th May in Lodsworth from 10-4pm, with details of how to register in Latest News.

In this post, Gillian explains why she began to meditate and how she met Miranda along the way.

"A few years ago, I found myself running around in circles, feeling stressed and overwrought, on an almost daily basis. As a parent and a barrister, I felt sure there must be a way to run the professional motor and enjoy parenthood without feeling guilty or completely exhausted. I started to look for solutions on the strict basis that they had to be both workable and provable. It was at this point that I turned to meditation. I did my research, started to attend a class, read as many books and scientific papers as I could and started to practice, even when I didn’t want to. 

After a few months, I could start to feel a difference. As a barrister, I found myself better able to cope with stressful situations in a more thoughtful and less reactive manner. As a parent, I was more willing to be present and more able to develop some breathing space to be able to respond, rather than knee-jerk react, to the challenges that arose.

I also became much more aware of the ability of negative emotions to hijack us at any moment of the day, without prior notice, and that our thoughts could start to define us, unless we paid attention. After several years of practice, I decided to qualify to teach meditation and have spent the last 12 months practicing as a barrister and teaching meditation to beginners. 

A few years ago, I met Miranda at a ballet class and we became friends. She became a regular at my meditation classes in West Sussex and we started to talk about the similarities between baking and meditation. Soon after, we hatched a plan to launch The Mindful Kitchen Company as a way of combining both formal meditation practice and informal mindfulness, which comes naturally when we engage in such pleasures as baking, walking, foraging and sharing. We are both very excited about this new venture."

For more information about meditation, see Practical Meditation at www.practicalmeditation.co.uk

Our Journey to The Mindful Kitchen Company - "The Great British Juggling Act"

The launch of The Mindful Kitchen Company on Saturday 13th May at The Kitchen School in Lodsworth, West Sussex brings together Miranda Gore Browne (Bake Off Finalist and cookery writer) and Gillian Higgins (international barrister and meditation teacher). To find out more about the retreat day, see Latest News. This week, Miranda tells us about her passion for baking and how she came to meditation. 

"I have always been passionate about everything I do. From my full-on career at Marks and Spencer to reaching the final of The Great British Bake Off, pitching for a book whilst moving into a major house project, developing book recipes in a tiny kitchen as it was demolished around me, launching my book at Fortnums and running corporate press days whilst hugely pregnant with my third child. I have always thought I thrived on being busy and doing my best. 

I love creating memories and have a brutal determination to give my three children as idyllic a childhood I can, enjoying the simple things, paddling in the harbour, licking the icing off homemade cakes, watching the sunset with fish and chips and generally living their lives in the moment, being present and happy.

With my father falling ill and my mother becoming more of a carer, I found my role as Head of Happiness growing and it was increasingly difficult for me to juggle everyone's needs. A dear friend said to me 'remember the oxygen on the aeroplane' and I realised that my family, my business and all of our happiness would come to nothing if I didn't look after myself and make sure I put the oxygen mask on first, so I could then look after them. Baking and cookery has always been an escape for me, an outlet for my creativity, a moment of calm, a sense of achievement, a way to show I love and care.  It has also provided the chance to find sanctuary in the quiet of the kitchen at night, after days travelling with work or once restless babies, unsettled toddlers or needy children had finally found sleep. Even during the demands of Bake Off and book writing, creating recipes and baking allowed me to find me. 

I found another escape and revived a childhood love by rediscovering ballet with its combination of discipline, abandon and joyfulness. Yet I found it hard to carve out even one hour a week for me to dance. I was cynical about meditation but as I hared in to the class every week, late and usually stressed, I found comfort in conversations with Gilly in class and her calmer approach to her stressful life.  I was curious to know more and fascinated by her assurances about the effect a more mindful approach could have on me and those close to me. I have never looked back. Gilly's soothing voice, her honest confessions about her busy mind, the distractions it was acceptable for me to feel and her real approach to meditation has been uplifting. It has not stopped me rushing headlong into life but it has allowed me to experience a sense of calmer perspective and is constantly rejuvenating. 

I am hugely excited to 'Breathe and Bake' together and can't wait to bring together the benefits of mindfulness and the natural joys of the simplest things in life...food, baking and being in the moment."

Early Bird Price £125

The Kitchen School, Lodsworth, West Sussex

For more details about the retreat day, see Latest News

Meditation - So How Do I Get Started?

At The Mindful Kitchen Company on Saturday 13th May in West Sussex, we will be practising some short mindfulness meditation practices, enjoying bread making, foraging, cake decorating and sharing food. Our hosts, Miranda Gore Browne (Bake Off Finalist and cookery writer) and Gillian Higgins (international barrister and meditation teacher) will be sharing their skills and knowledge with us from 10-4pm at The Kitchen School in Lodsworth.

For those new to meditation, it might be helpful to consider some practical questions we often face at the outset, such as the benefits of meditation, what equipment is needed and where and when to practice.

Why Should I Meditate?

When exploring the question of why practice meditation in the first place, the many benefits that may be reaped from building a daily practice can now be scientifically shown to extend into areas of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

While meditation is not a panacea for all illsthere is now a significant body of scientific evidence to support the benefits that flow from a regular practice. These benefits include stress management, reducing anxiety and depression, lowering blood pressure, better sleep, improved concentration, feeling happier and more able to deal with life’s challenges.

What Equipment Do I Need to Practice?

A frequently asked question is ‘what equipment do I need to practice?’ The answer is nothing special, simply your body and breath. For comfort, you may wish you want to use a high-backed chair or a cushion on the floor. If you want to lie down, choose somewhere comfortable, again where you won’t be disturbed. If you decide to meditate on your bed, simply be aware of the temptation to drift off to sleep. This is a common experience and may simply reveal that you need more sleep.

Where and When Should I practice?

Having established the benefits of a regular practice, one of the initial practical difficulties often faced by those starting to meditate is finding a place to practice where you won’t be disturbed, even if it’s just for a few minutes. This can be difficult given the demands of both the home and the workplace.

When deciding where to meditate, it is often helpful to use the same space each time and this may be the bedroom, the office, the garden shed, or even the car at the start or end of a journey. If you are able to practice in the same place at the same time every day, this will help to support the building of your new routine. However, if this is not possible, try to see when you can find just a few moments for yourself to be still and quiet. Less more often brings the benefits. However, finding this time on a daily basis can be one of the hardest challenges.

Eric Harrison, author of “Teach Yourself to Meditate” explains that “we can meditate in any posture. We can meditate sitting in a chair or on the floor. Or walking, fast or slow. Or lying down on our side or on our back. Or standing. Or in any posture in between.” There is no best way to meditate. It is important however that your “posture should be comfortable (but not too comfortable), balanced and open (so that you can breathe easily) and alert…The most important general rule is don’t slump.”

If you would like to learn more, please come along to The Mindful Kitchen Company from 10-4pm on Saturday 13th May in Lodsworth, West Sussex. Get in touch through the website to reserve your space.

Date and Time:          Saturday 13th May, 10-4pm

Location:                    The Kitchen School, Lodsworth, West Sussex

Price:                          £125 April Early Bird or £150

Baking and Breathing at The Mindful Kitchen Company on 13th May

On Saturday 13th May, The Mindful Kitchen Company opens its doors for the first time. Miranda Gore Browne (Bake Off Finalist and cookery writer) and Gillian Higgins (international barrister and meditation teacher) will be welcoming people in to make bread together, eat together, cake-decorate and learn some simple mindfulness meditation practices to reduce stress and increase wellbeing.

One of the simplest definitions of mindfulness meditation is that it is a practice of paying attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgmentally. In a guided mindfulness meditation practice on retreat, we may choose for example to use our breath as an anchor to the present moment. Our mind will wander off into thinking, planning or worrying, and when it does so, we can notice where it has wandered to and gently bring it back with kindness to our anchor point, namely the breath. In essence, this is the meditative process.

Teacher and scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn tells us that when we start to practice mindfulness meditation, “it is very important not to build some kind of ideal about your mind not wavering or being absolutely stable in order for you to be “doing it right”.  Mindfulness meditation is not about trying to stop thoughts or push them away, but rather about building awareness of the present moment, just as it is.

If you would like to come and bake, cake decorate and learn some mindful breathing practices at The Mindful Kitchen Company from 10-4pm on Saturday 13th May in Lodsworth, West Sussex, then please get in touch through the website to reserve your space.

Date and Time:          Saturday 13th May, 10-4pm

Location:                    The Kitchen School, Lodsworth, West Sussex

Price:                          £125 April Early Bird or £150

The Mindful Kitchen Company – Eating and Sharing

IMG_0686.JPG

The Mindful Kitchen Company is centred around baking and breathing in the form of mindfulness meditation. Vietnamese Zen Master Tich Nhat Hanh, often described as the father of mindfulness, teaches us that when we eat, we can choose to pay attention to just two things – the food we are eating and those we are eating with. Hanh explains that this is called mindfulness of food and mindfulness of community. “Eating mindfully, we become aware of all the work and energy that has gone into bringing the food to us. If we are eating with others, we can notice how great it is that during this sometimes hectic life we can find the time to sit together in a relaxed way and enjoy a meal.”

Come and practice some baking and learn about mindfulness meditation at The Mindful Kitchen Company from 10-4pm on Saturday 13th May at The Kitchen School in Lodsworth, West Sussex. Get in touch through the website to reserve your space.

Date and Time:          Saturday 13th May, 10-4pm

Location:                    The Kitchen School, Lodsworth, West Sussex

Price:                          £125 April Early Bird or £150

The Mindful Kitchen Company - MultiTasking or Mindfulness?

On 13th May, The Mindful Kitchen Company will open its doors at The Kitchen School in Lodsworth, West Sussex. Miranda Gore Browne (Bake Off Finalist and cookery writer) and Gillian Higgins (international barrister and meditation teacher) will be using baking and breathing techniques using mindfulness meditation practices to restore calm. The Retreat welcomes beginners in particular to come and bake bread, learn meditation techniques, share lunch and decorate cakes. 

For those who have not practiced mindfulness meditation before, it can be best explained in the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn as the "paying of attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgmentally - and as if your life depended on it." In his book "Mindfulness for Beginners", he explains that "Most of our lives we are absorbed in doing: in getting things done, in going rapidly from one thing to the next, or in multitasking - attempting to juggle a bunch of different things at the very same moment." He explains that "This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness reminds us that it is possible to shift from a doing mode to a being mode through the application of attention and awareness. What is more, we cease exhausting ourselves so much as we learn to inhabit our own body and the only moment in which we are ever alive - this one." Mindfulness meditation allows us to use an anchor to the present moment, such as the breath, and to return to our anchor every time the mind wanders off for example into thinking, worrying or planning. The return to the anchor, with kindness to ourselves, is the meditative process, which in turn, helps us to engage our "rest and digest" nervous system and feel a sense of calm.

Come and join us at The Mindful Kitchen Company on 13th May to learn more about the practice of mindfulness meditation and learn new baking skills in the idyllic setting of the village of Lodsworth in the South Downs National Park.

Time: 10-4pm

Location: Lodsworth, West Sussex

Cost: £125 early bird April price or £150

Contact The Mindful Kitchen Retreat to reserve your place

Introducing The Mindful Kitchen Company

On Saturday 13th May, Miranda Gore Browne (cookery writer and Bake Off Finalist) and Gillian Higgins (international barrister and meditation teacher) will open the doors of The Mindful Kitchen Company in Lodsworth to welcome people in to bake together, eat together and learn simple breathing meditation techniques that can be used to enhance wellbeing and reduce stress at home and in the workplace.

A typical day on retreat day begins at 10am with a welcome introduction and refreshments. Before preparing the bread for the day, we discuss the benefits of mindfulness meditation and share a short practice together. Beginners are particularly welcome and no equipment is needed.

Having weighed the ingredients and kneaded the bread, it's time for a walk in the forest and a forage. After a guided sound meditation outdoors, we return to base for a warm drink by the fire pit in time to check the dough, bake and share lunch.

In the afternoon, there's time for another mindfulness practice with a question and answer session on the day's events with Miranda and Gillian. Cake decorating in time for afternoon tea brings the day to a close with a period of reflection. Take home your own edible goodies and mindfulness practices. If you would like to come along and enjoy a quiet moment for yourself, please get in touch. Website coming soon. 

Price: £150

April Early Bird Price: £125